Purpose – To identify the applicability of social auditing as an approach of engaging stakeholders in assessing and reporting on corporate sustainability and its performance. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing upon the framework of AA1000 and the social auditing studies, this paper links stakeholder engagement, social auditing and corporate sustainability with a view to applying dialogue‐based social auditing to address corporate sustainability. Findings – This paper identifies a “match” between corporate sustainability and social auditing, as both aim at improving the social, environmental and economic performance of an organisation, considering the well‐being of a wider range of stakeholders and requiring the engagement of stakeholders in the process. This paper suggests that social auditing through engaging stakeholders via dialogue could be applied to build trusts, identify commitment and promote co‐operation amongst stakeholders and corporations. Research limitations/implications – This research requires further empirical research into the practicality of social auditing in addressing corporate sustainability and the determination of the limitations of dialogue‐based social auditing. Practical implications – Social auditing has been identified as a useful mechanism of balancing differing interests among stakeholders and corporations in a democratic business society. The application of social auditing in developing and achieving corporate sustainability has apparently practical implications. Originality/value – This paper examines the applicability of dialogue‐based social auditing in helping business to move towards sustainability. Social auditing as a process of assessing and reporting on corporate social and environmental performance through engaging stakeholders via dialogue could be applied to build trusts, identify commitment and promote cooperation amongst stakeholders and corporations.
Business Process Management Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 2006
Keywords: Corporate image; Sustainable development; Social audit; Stakeholder analysis
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